Coastal Cleanup Day with Heal The Bay
Thousands of people will amass beaches, rivers, parks, schools and watersheds throughout the state of California (half a million in total around the planet!) on Saturday, September 16 for Coastal Cleanup Day – the world’s largest volunteer day to protect the ocean.
Volunteers pick up trash and debris from beaches, rivers, streams, parks and public places, and items are tallied up together to raise awareness about our pollution challenges.
I have been aware of Heal the Bay as an organization for years. Heal the Bay works to protect the oceans and watersheds of Los Angeles County, so working in a marine biology department in Los Angeles means that you know who they are and what their goal is, but until this volunteer event, I had not worked with them personally. I knew there were regular beach clean ups, but not sure what they did or how much they accomplished.
On Sept 16, resisterhoodLA volunteers, working at Topanga Canyon beach, joined thousands of volunteers across LA County to try and clean our beaches. At Topanga Canyon Beach, all of the volunteers collected more than 430 pounds of trash, of which, members of resisterhoodLA collected at least 50 pounds, plus one bike (thanks to Jeff)! In total, volunteers across the county collected over 23,000 pounds of trash!
In sifting through the sands, I saw that most of the trash impacting our beaches and oceans are not large objects, but small pieces of foam or plastic from our coffee cups, takeaway containers, or Starbucks straws. These small items are everywhere and take a long time to add up to a lot of weight, but they have the biggest impact on wildlife.
If you are interested in continuing the help our local beaches and watersheds, Heal the Bay performs monthly beach clean-ups (healthebay.org) and they have an aquarium you can visit at the Santa Monica Pier!
Contributed by Ben Tully, microbiologist, scientist, & educator.
You can find Ben on twitter.
ABOUT HEAL THE BAY
Heal the Bay is an environmental nonprofit dedicated to making the coastal waters and watersheds of Greater Los Angeles safe, healthy and clean. To fulfill our mission, we use science, education, community action, and advocacy.